Microsoft Bows Visual Studio.NET Open Tools Platform

Microsoft Corp. Monday debuted the core of its Open Tools Platform Visual Studio .NET, which was created to help developers and vendors build applications and services using such standards as XML, SOAP and UDDI.

As promised months earlier, Visual Studio.NET sports an open automation model, allowing Web developers to customize and integrate the development environment right out of the box.

For example, using macros, which are symbols, names, or keys that represent a host of commands, a developer can architect two-way synchronization with Microsoft Outlook that takes tasks from Outlook and adds them onto the Task List in the Visual Studio integrated development environment.

The launch of Visual Studios is accompanied by the Visual Studio Integration Program, which makes it possible for vendors to integrate their products and services into the Visual Studio.NET development environment through a new software development kit.

More than 50 companies are evaluating the Visual Studio Integration Program technologies, and over 30 companies have signed up and announced their product intentions.

The main thrust of the Open Tools Platform, Microsoft said, is to pare the costs and time consumption associated with applications development.

Mike Lloyd, technical strategy manager at UK-based financial solutions provider Marlborough Stirling, said his firm was using Visual Studios for Applications to transform pensions and mortgage apps into all-encompassing development platforms that are capable of adapting to customers’ needs.

After months of promising, Microsoft has spent the last few weeks delivering, or at least demonstrating, its new products and services. Last week, the giant detailed a corporate service program for its new Office XP and opened up that application’s second beta test to more participants for $19.95 a shot.

The Office XP program came a few weeks after Microsoft showed off its XP operating system to reporters at the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle.

Indeed, while Microsoft has spent the last month “unveiling” its new products or programs, the company is really just offering glimpses of the future as many of its intiatives are in first or second phase beta testing and will not be ready for public consumption until later in 2001 or 2002.

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